ABC Nears Put Pilot Deal For U.S. Version of British Comedy 'Spy'

EXCLUSIVE: Hot British comedy format Spy is crossing the pond. ABC is planning to develop an adaptation of the 2011 Sky 1 comedy produced by Hat Trick Prods. The original series’ creator Simeon Goulden is in negotiations to write the U.S. version, which is expected to get a put pilot commitment from ABC. ABC Studios and Hat Trick will produce, with Goulden and Hat Trick’s Jimmy Mulville executive producing.

The original series (trailer below) follows hapless single father Tim (Darren Boyd) who, trying to impress his horribly precocious nine-year-old son, quits his job as a junior sales assistant in a computer shop but then gets accidentally recruited into the British intelligence agency MI5. The series, which echos such bumbling spy franchises as Get Smart and Johnny English, chronicles his attempts to balance his secret life as a trainee agent with his chaotic domestic life.

After a successful six-episode first-season run, Sky 1 renewed Spy for a second season with a supersized for British standards order for 10 episodes and a Christmas special. Season 2 is now in production. In the U.S., the series is available on hulu where it is a top performer. This marks the latest U.S. project for Hat Track, one of  UK’s most successful independent production companies. The company has produced U.S. adaptations of a number of its U.K. comedy series, including Worst Week, which went to series on CBS. WME-repped Hat Trick currently produces the Showtime/BBC Two comedy series Episodes starring Matt LeBlanc. Goulden is with UTA and Curtis Brown in the UK.

British-born ABC topper Paul Lee has been high on British comedy formats. One of ABC’s new half-series for next season, Family Tools, is based on the British sitcom White Man Van, and the network is re-piloting the other comedy pilot from last season based on an U.K. format, Only For Fools And Horses.

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